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Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 26
Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 26

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Let's briefly examine, with the help of the map to the right, the route of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. Keep in mind that most Bible atlases and commentaries do not show the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Many also misplace most other locations mentioned in the Bible. The route shown is as close as we can determine based on the biblical account.

The Israelites, most of whom were living in the land of Goshen, kill and eat the Passover lamb on the evening of the 14th and stay in their homes until morning (Ex. 12:6-8, 22). Pharaoh, after midnight, calls for Moses to tell them to leave Egypt (verses 29-31). The Israelites then gather at Rameses during the daylight part of the 14th (verses 33-37).

They leave Rameses on the night of the 15th and encamp at Succoth (Deut. 16:1; Num. 33:3; Ex. 12:37) on the weekly Sabbath during this first Feast of Unleavened Bread.

God does not lead the Israelites by “the way of the land of the Philistines,” the shortest route to Canaan (Ex. 13:17). Instead, He leads them southeast, toward Mt. Sinai, at first along “the way of the wilderness of the Red sea” (verse 18). This is to fulfill His promise to take them first to Mt. Sinai (Ex. 3:1-12).

From Succoth, the Israelites go to Etham, at the edge of the wilderness (Ex. 13:20). God then tells them to turn south and go into the wilderness west of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:1-2).

On the sixth day of the Feast, the Israelites encamp by the seashore northeast of the Pi-hahiroth range of mountains, which jut abruptly into the sea. There they are trapped by the mountains to the south and west, the Red Sea to the east and Pharaoh's army to the north (verses 3-10). God then opens a pathway through the Red Sea, allowing the Israelites to walk across (verses 21-22). Pharaoh's army pursues and is drowned (verses 23-31). On the east coast of the Red Sea, there is great rejoicing in the camp of Israel on the seventh and last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex. 15:1-21).

The Israelites then travel southeast, roughly parallel to the Red Sea. Along the way they stop at a number of places, including Marah and Elim (Ex. 15:22-23, 27), before heading east, arriving at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:1-2) nearly seven weeks later.